We would like to introduce our first coffee from Yemen. In Yemen, coffee is grown in mountainous areas high on plateaus and in valleys at an altitude of 1600-2100 m. It is famous for being the first in the world to grow coffee after Sufi monks brought it to the area in the 15th century, where it began to be cultivated and exported from the port of Al-Makha in the 16th century, giving rise to the name of the drink Mocha, which is now known worldwide. In the 19th century, coffee exports reached more than 57 000 tonnes at their peak, a very different situation from today, when less than 20 000 tonnes are exported. Coffee is grown on small terraced farms in the high mountains in a very simple way. All the coffee is hand-picked, grown using natural organic fertilisers and dried on raised beds or rooftops.
These coffees come from Mocha Mill, one of the first exporters of specialty coffee in Yemen. Mocha Mill embarked on the journey to specialty coffee in Yemen in 2014 when it decided to conduct a feasibility study on the production and export of specialty coffee. In the very first season, they were able to export the coffees to the US for tasting and grading, which helped them understand their quality. Unfortunately, in the same year (2014), civil war broke out in the country, but this did not stop them from continuing their journey and over the years has led to the creation of supply chains in 6 different regions of Yemen. During this time, they also built a dry mill in Samat in 2017, where they also invested in a color sorter and state-of-the-art grinding equipment and built warehouses for drying experimental coffees. In 2021, they produced and exported a total of about 10 containers of 80+ scored selective coffees around the world to Japan, Australia, the Middle East, the UK and Europe.
Mocha Mill’s focus on working with farmers throughout Yemen has become a focus of its efforts. They educate them on best agricultural practices to improve the yield and quality of coffee grown from their trees. A key part of their strategy is to empower farmers, especially women, as they make up approximately 75% of farmers in Yemen. They work in full transparency with their farmers and build long-term relationships with them. Farmers are paid when they deliver their cherries to a buying point in each of the regions that Mocha Mill has established. This includes striving to establish the highest standards, specifications and protocols for coffee quality control in order to improve the lives of all Yemenis involved in the coffee supply chain.
Traditional farmers in Yemen work on small plots ranging from 60-70 trees to 400-500 trees. This is mainly the Jaadi/Udhini variety, a large tree known for its good production. On average, farmers produce about 1500 kg of cherries, which is equivalent to about 3 bags of 60kg of export coffee. Across all farmers, the average price paid for cherries was US$2.47/kg of cherries for those working with Mocha Mill. Growers’ income is mainly from coffee, but some also grow qat (Khat), which is a strong legal internal market in Yemen. It is also chewed daily by 90% of the population.
As part of their focus, they put sustainability at the heart of their business practices. Yemen is a country struggling with drought and water scarcity. Mocha Mill is implementing innovative irrigation and dry processing techniques to address water scarcity and reduce the impact on communities and their access to such a scarce resource.
Coffee in Harazi:
The area consists of high mountains, plateaus and valleys that reach an elevation of approximately 1,700-2,100 m above sea level. There are also mountain ranges in the area. Various crops are grown here, the most famous of which is the cultivation of coffee beans. In total, there are about 2000 farmers in the area.
There are 9 collection stations in the region and approximately every 3 to 4 days in the season farmers deliver coffee here. Mocha Mill has been here for 4 years and has built relationships with the same farmers, whom it has trained in how to produce high quality coffee. Their team has been able to work alongside the producers during the season, fulfilling harvest schedules to take care of the trees and then ship the freshly picked cherries directly to the wet mill they set up at harvest time.
Beni Al – Nahamie
The village of Beni Al- Nahamie is located at an altitude of more than 1,800 m above sea level and is one of the villages in the Haraz area of the Manakhah district, which is 14 km away.
For more than four hundred years, farmers have been growing coffee here on the mountain terraces for generations. The species of these trees is locally classified as Al-Adeni because they are a major source of income and something that has been passed down.
The process of anaerobic fermentation
The coffee, which we have been fine-tuning to perfection for several weeks now, has been processed anaerobically using the natural method.This takes place in closed tanks for two to five days depending on the pH level (4 degrees), after which the coffee beans are dried in the sun for two to three days depending on the temperature of the sun, beginning a phase of slow drying in the shade for up to 40 days. During this period, the beans are stirred regularly while the moisture content is monitored and recorded.
You can enjoy a truly exceptional coffee with a clean and bright taste. You will find notes of apple cider, a nice hint of raspberry and the cup will have a creamy body. Enjoy our first coffee from Yemen.